Chinese Ambassador to Uzbekistan Jiang Yan poses for a photo during an interview with Xinhua in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Oct. 4, 2019. China-Uzbekistan cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will give fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations, Jiang Yan said. (Xinhua/Cai Guodong)
TASHKENT, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- China-Uzbekistan cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will give fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations, Chinese Ambassador to Uzbekistan Jiang Yan has said.
China-Uzbekistan cooperation has been expanding and deepening in various areas, Jiang told Xinhua in an interview ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's official visit to the central Asian country scheduled for early November at the invitation of Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov.
Jiang said both countries are ancient civilizations along the ancient Silk Road with a long history of friendly exchanges. More than 2,000 years ago, China's imperial envoy Zhang Qian arrived in Uzbekistan, marking the start of China-Uzbekistan trade exchanges and cultural communications.
Uzbekistan is one of the first countries to support and participate in the BRI, Jiang said, citing major projects such as the China-Central Asia gas pipeline and the Qamchiq Tunnel on the Angren-Pap railway line.
Under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has been carrying out a range of domestic reforms and opening-up measures, including restructuring the government and strengthening international cooperation, Jiang said.
Uzbekistan set up a special government body this year to dovetail its development strategies with those of China. The central Asian country actively promotes cooperation under the BRI, expands production capacity cooperation and boosts trade exchanges, Jiang said, adding that the China-Uzbekistan comprehensive strategic partnership has maintained a strong momentum.
Last year, China-Uzbekistan trade surged 48.4 percent year-on-year, reaching 6.26 billion U.S. dollars.
China is Uzbekistan's largest trading partner, largest source of imports and largest destination of exports. More than 1,500 Chinese enterprises have been operating in Uzbekistan.
Jiang said bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges, particularly in archaeology and cultural relics restoration, have grown and flourished.
From Jan. 1, 2020, Chinese citizens will enjoy a visa-free period of no more than seven days in the country.
China is willing to cooperate with Uzbekistan to further facilitate mutual visits, Jiang said.